Awareness Of Online Scams Among Young People
Last month, 14 people underwent police investigation for online scams and commercial crimes nearing S$340,000. (The Straits Times, 2018) Just last week, 55 more were hauled to the police station due to alleged scam transactions that exceeded S$1.8 million. (The Straits Times, 2018) These examples serve to show that online scamming, especially in a technologically advanced country like Singapore, is becoming more and more prevalent.
Nowadays, people share quite a bit of their social lives and personal information on social media platforms, so it is easy for scammers to target who exactly they want as victims by doing a bit of profiling on the internet. Online scams are divided into internet love scams, impersonation scams, online purchase scams, lottery scams, kidnap phone scams and many more. Impersonation scams and internet love scams are just a few of the largest single scamming cases in Singapore. Online crimes are particularly challenging to solve because of the borderless nature of the internet. (Channel News Asia, 2017) A significant proportion of online scams are committed by foreign syndicates that will not stop in finding ways to prey on victims. These criminals often exploit people’s feelings for loved ones or other personal motivations. (Yuen-C, 2018)
As online fraud transcends national boundaries, the Police will continue to work closely with foreign law enforcement counterparts to crack down on overseas syndicates targeting Singaporeans.
The purpose of our proposal is to raise awareness of online scams among young people so that they are aware of the danger of scams, as well as to educate them on the methods of these online scammers.
For the scope, we will be covering the process of some of the more common scams and the consequences of people who have been subjected to such scams. Through our campaign, which includes posters and pamphlets as well as social media pages, we seek to educate today’s generation of youths. The campaign and its activities will extend to schools and students in the tertiary sector.
There are many negative impacts that will follow after being scammed, of which includes financial losses and in some cases, psychological impacts. The financial losses differ for each individual and scam, but statistics have shown that in 2017, more than S$99 million was scammed from victims. (Ang, 2018) Even the most minor cases of scam can make a huge impact on the person who have been scammed. If the person has any financial difficulties, being scammed will worsen his situation.
Financial losses due to scam can also lead to psychological impacts in some cases. Some victims might be too afraid to open up about the scam in fear of judgement and stigma from others, which will lead to them bottling up the humiliation that they feel. This might lead to negative impacts on their mental health. (ABC News, 2017)
Motivations of Online Scams
The motivation for the online scam matters. Most main motivations of online scamming comes from the lure of monetary reward, or to uncover an individual’s private personal information. If it is known that the scam was meant for financial gain or to harass the individual, then it would probably give more weight to an attorney’s involvement. Ultimately, all of this must be weighed to determine the harm that a target may suffer as a result of the online scam.
Since our campaign is focused on young people and tertiary students, we will center the campaign around what they are the most involved in: social media and the internet. Our campaign includes a mini-series, an Instagram and Twitter page for the online aspect, as well as posters, pamphlets and events to make our campaign more immersive for young people.
Implementation of the Campaign
To implement the campaign, since we would like for it to be geared towards tertiary students, we will be making a miniseries which focuses on online scams. This miniseries will have popular and up-and-coming actors and actresses to pique the students’ interests. We will also be creating Twitter and Instagram pages to promote our campaign on social media, as many tertiary students use such sites often. Thus, we could get more of our specific audience to engage with such sites. For the campaign itself, we would be including the posters and pamphlets as well as some of the aforementioned actors and actresses to further increase the interest of our target audience.
The 5 episode mini-series, titled “Got Scam?” will be available for watch on the online site, Toggle, in cooperation with MediaCorp. We will also be working closely with the Singapore Police Force to create this mini-series, as they will be providing the information such as the specific scammer methods and tips on how to prevent being scammed. Each episode, with the plot highlighting a specific type of scam, will be around 20 mins long. The scams we will be touching upon in the episodes will be the top 5 scams in Singapore currently, which are: online purchase scams, China officials impersonation scam, internet love scam, credit-for-sex scam, and business email impersonation scam. (National Crime Prevention Council, 2016) By integrating information into a series, our campaign is able to garner more attention and interest from young people, but not exclusive of people of other ages.
Secondly, we will be creating Instagram and Twitter pages that are based on the mini-series, but also informative sites. In other words, any updates about the show will be posted regularly on both pages as well as tips on how to prevent being scammed. This way, the pages can be used as an educational platform while keeping them interested and engaged in our campaign.
Lastly, for the actual campaigning, to better provide our target audience with information, the events will be held at selected community centres and tertiary institutions. Event dates and times will be posted on the social media sites for exposure. The 2-hour long event will include an hour long talk, a short skit, as well as a mini quiz in which you can win prizes. The talk will be held by officers from the Technology Crime Division [SPF]. We will be inviting some of the cast of the mini-series as guests to perform a short 5 minute skit, which will be a summary of one of the episodes for the people who may not have watched or known about the mini-series. This will promote the mini-series to all the tertiary students in Singapore as well as members of the community. The quiz will be hosted by the cast as well, and the questions include information mentioned in the talks as well as in the short skit. This will give them a refresh of the information and enable the information to better retain in their minds. Prizes are to be won in the quiz to encourage participation. Name-card sized pamphlets will be given out to people attending the event and on the streets. The smaller size as compared to usual pamphlets will be much more convenient for the people who have received them. It also reduces the chances of them discarding the pamphlets. The front of the name-card pamphlet will be in a similar design as the poster, but the back will be On top of that, posters will also be distributed to the schools and community centres to be pasted on the walls.
Given the prevalence of the Internet and the amount of personal information available to complete strangers, the youth of today need to be educated on the dangers of online scamming as well as the means to combat it. As a helpful guide, our proposal and campaign will prepare young people to deal with such situations should the need arise, by informing young people of the dangers of the internet. In addition, young people would understand the types of online scams and means of fraud. Unconfirmed messages and inquiries on the web should not be easily trusted. Therefore, we present the knowledge on some of the most popular techniques malicious scammers are using to conduct online scams. We must not forget their final target is always our money and/or personal information and there is nothing they won’t do to accomplish their mission. In conclusion, excessive exposure your living environment and personal data will create unnecessary trouble in your life, so everyone needs to understand the forms and means of online scam as not to become the next scam victim.